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"Ray Frank: The Jewish Lady Preacher" Article from Israel: The Jewish Magazine

"Ray Frank: The Jewish Lady Preacher" Article from Israel: The Jewish Magazine

"Ray Frank: The Jewish Lady Preacher" article from tIsrael: The Jewish Magazine.

Courtesy of Brandeis University.

Israel: The Jewish Magazine
Date published
Jewesses of To-day RAY FRANK, THE JEWISH LADY PREACHER. BY OUR SPECIAL COMMISIONER People who are interested in American news must often have heard the name of Ray Frank, one of the most remarkable young Jewesses that America or any other country has produced in modern times. She is often described as a female Rabbi. As a matter of fact, she is not a Rabbi, though more than one Rabbinical post has been offered to her. But in an unofficial sort of way she has performed Rabbinical functions, having occupied Jewish pulpits, not only in Reform congregations, but in Orthodox ones as well. She has spoken also on numerous secular platforms, and is one of the best knows lady lecturers in America. She is likewise prominent as a journalist and an educationalist, and, indeed, there are few forms of public work with which she has not identified herself. Imbued with strong religious enthusiasms, she has been a unique force for good among her co-religionists, men as well as women, while the influence of her writings and addresses has extended itself far beyond the Jewish communities of America. Miss Frank was recently spending a few months in London, which she visited with the object of surveying Anglo-Jewish institutions, and on her way to Russia, where she wishes to study the ways of Russian Jews in their native home. Before she left England I had an opportunity of one or two conversations with her, and induced her to give me an interview for the columns of Israel. Of course, I wanted her portrait to accompany this article. But Miss Frank has such a deeply-rooted objection to journalistic photographs that I had to waive this point, and must endeavour to supplement the slight memory sketch by an artistic friend, that is here reproduced, with a pen-and-ink picture of her striking figure in my own words. Imagine a tall, dark young woman, with a delicate, oval face, straight, regular features, and black, plainly-parted hair. Her high forehead and finely-shaped bead betoken intellectual power. When she speaks, her dark eyes light up with an intense earnestness. She has a mobile mouth, expressive of sympathy, and sensitive nostrils which would seem to indicate the possession of an artistic temperament. She talks with great fluency on almost any topic, and her conversation is full of charm. What her age is I do not know, and could not well ask. But as interviewers say in America, she is "past twenty-one." Such is Ray Frank, altogether a remarkable personality, who impresses those who come in contact with her as gifted, in no ordinary degree, with splendid qualities of heart and mind. Of her spiritual fervour there can be no question: but whether there is not also something of the mystic in her character is a point upon which I have not quite make up my mind. Ray Frank is the daughter of Mr. Bernard Frank, of San Francisco, California, and is descended through him from the famous Wilna Gaon, who was her great-great-grandfather. Miss Frank's father was one of the pioneer settlers on the north-west coast of the United States, and he is the first Jew who ever held an office in the Western States in connection with Indian affairs. He has had a very eventful career, and has always been to the fore in every new movement. For some years his family have been settled in San Francisco, and there Ray Frank was born and grew up. She received her education at the University of California, and studied science and philosophy under the famous Le Cant and Howisson. Leaving California, she went to Cincinnati, where she became a student of the Hebrew Union College, the well-known American institution presided over by Dr. Wise, in which the majority of the present generation of American Rabbis have been trained. She studied Hebrew Literature under Prof. Deutsch. In the meanwhile she entered upon public work. Ever since the age of sixteen she had been contributing to the American press. She now came forward as a lecturer on Jewish and other subjects. Her eloquence attracted large audiences: the fluency with which she could speak on almost any topic, without preparation and without a note of any kind, spread her reputation as a public speaker far and wide. She traveled all over the Pacific coast, lecturing on such subjects as "Jews and Judaism," "Heart-throbs of Israel," "Jewish Folklore," "Music and its Revelations," "Queens of Society," "Woman at Home," and "Art and Letters." Some of these lectures were a means of bringing together Jewish and Christian women who had never met before. Miss Frank spoke in the Women's Section of the Parliament of Religions, which was held at Chicago a few years ago, in connection with the World's Fair. When she arrived there, she was asked, quite unexpectedly, to open the meeting with a prayer. About the same time a meeting of war veterans of the United States Army was held in Chicago. In the same unexpected manner, she was called upon to address the soldiers. She spoke to them on "The Daughters of the Republic."
Brandeis University

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Jewish Women's Archive. ""Ray Frank: The Jewish Lady Preacher" Article from Israel: The Jewish Magazine." (Viewed on January 16, 2019) <>.


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